Posts Tagged ‘C&O 1309’

Looking Forward to Seeing it in Steam This Year

January 11, 2022

I’m looking forward to visiting the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad in Cumberland, Maryland, this year to ride behind and photograph Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309.

Back on May 22, 1988, I visited the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore. At that time several locomotives were being sandblasted to be readied for a fresh painting.

The 1309 was in that group. It never crossed my mind that it would someday be restored. Hopefully this spring or summer I will be able to update this post.

Article and Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

C&O 1309 Makes Another Successful Test Run

December 10, 2021

Former Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 made a test run this week that officials said was trouble free and clears the way for the locomotive to pull Polar Express trains next week on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad.

WMSR general manager Wesley Heinz told a newspaper published in Cumberland, Maryland, that some adjustments to the 1309 will be made before it begins revenue service between Cumberland and Frostburg.

Additional test runs are expected to be made next week as well.

Heinz said the tourist railroad has sold 22,000 Polar Express tickets this year with all tickets for the Dec. 17 through 19 excursions having been sold.

C&O 1309 to Debut on WMSR on Dec. 17

November 23, 2021

The debut public runs of Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 have been set for Dec. 17, 18 and 19 when the Mallet-type locomotive will pull a series of Polar Express trips on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad.

The locomotive recently received Federal Railroad Administration approval to operate in revenue service and crews took it out on the WMSR mainline last weekend with three-car and eight-car trains.

WMSR officials told Railfan and Railroad magazine that crews are now making adjustments to the engine, including fine-tuning the system that enables it to alternate between simple and compound operations.

Plans are to run the 1309 for 100 miles of test runs before using it to pull passengers.

In a related development, Trains magazine said it will sponsor a three-day event featuring the 1309 on Feb, 25-27.

The event will be limited to 100 attendees and include 1309 pulling various excursions, a freight photo train, a night run, and a night photo shoot.

C&O 1309 Gets FRA Approval to Operate

November 20, 2021

Former Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1390 has received Federal Railroad Administration approval to operate in revenue service.

Trains magazine reported on its website on Friday that the Baldwin-built steam locomotive will enter a period of testing and break-in operations on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad before it will begin pulling tourist trains on the 17-mile line.

The 1309 is expected to pull some Polar Express trains in December as well as participate in special events during the winter and spring.

Plans are to have the Mallet-type engine pull regular WMSR excursion trains as well.

The 1309 was restored to operating condition by the WMSR in a $3.5 million project after years of static display at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore.

C&O 1309 to Begin Revenue Service By December

August 30, 2021

Former Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 is expected to debut in revenue service by mid December.

Western Maryland Scenic Railroad executive director Wesley Heinz said the tourist railroad is pushing as hard as it can to get the on the road and that it could debut sometime between now and Dec. 17.

The 1309 is expected to pull some Polar Express excursions in December.

Although most restoration work of the last Baldwin built for domestic rail operation remains to be done, some work remains to be completed.

The WMSR began operations on Aug. 26 after completing track rehabilitation that had been ordered by the Federal Railroad Administration.

Testing of C&O 1309 Expected Soon

July 17, 2021

The former dome car Ocean View is how operating on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad.

Testing of Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 is expected to begin soon at the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad

The last Baldwin steam engine built for domestic use needed new firebrick for its firebox before testing can begin. Delivery of the firebrick has been delayed due to supply and labor shortages.

In the meantime, the WMSR has begun using in revenue service a full-length dome car built in 1955 for the Great Northern.

The Ocean View was Amtrak’s last dome car. The passenger carrier retired the car in 2019. It began operating on WMSR trains Cumberland and Frostburg earlier this month.

The car has been repainted into the red and while “circus” colors of the Western Maryland.

Also operating on the WMSR are an open-air car and privately owned cars Pacific Trail and Overland Trail.

Ocean View was purchased and renovated by a partnership between Rail Excursion Management and PAXRAIL.

It is believed to be the first dome car to use WM rails other than one or two documented detours of Baltimore & Ohio passenger trains..

Rebuilding WMSR 734 Seen as Years Away

April 24, 2021

The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad said it plans to stabilize and evaluate its 2-8-0 steam locomotive No. 734, but has no plans to resume operations with it.

 “Our new mechanical team has found accounts and inspection forms that indicate the locomotive was performing well below peak efficiency during her final years in service,” officials said.

“The locomotive was often pushed far beyond its normal operating capabilities, which has resulted in extreme wear and tear of many key components, particularly the running gear.”

WMSR forces have in the past couple years been focused largely on restoring former Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309, which was steamed up earlier this year and is expected to begin revenue service this summer.

No. 734 is a “Consolidation” type built by Baldwin in 1916 for the Lake Superior & Ishpeming as No. 18 and later had roster number 34.

It was retired by the LS&I in the early 1960s and ran on another tourist railroad and sat on static display at Illinois Railway Museum.

WMSR restored the 734 in the early 1990s and it was featured in many photo charters over the years. The locomotive last operated in 2016.

WMSR officials said the 734 is in extremely worn mechanical condition and will need a lengthy and expensive overhaul.

“If undertaken, it would also mean a significant investment in a locomotive that no longer meets the daily needs of the railroad, though this does not remove the possibility of 734 operating on the lighter, off-season trains and as stand-by power for 1309,” officials said.

The officials said the WMSR cannot commit to rebuilding the 734 until it determine the cost and scope of the needed work.

They indicated that review would not be completed until after the 2021 operating season and is likely to require a fundraising campaign.

Nonetheless WMSR officials expect that it will be a few years before overhaul work on the 734 begins in earnest.

The railroad plans to resume operations on May 29 after being shut down since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

C&O 1309 Operates Under Own Power

January 4, 2021

Former Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 moved on Dec. 31 under its own power on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad.

It was the first time the Mallet-type locomotive had done that in 64 years.

WMSR officials told Trains magazine that the 1309 is expected to regularly operate on the 17-mile tourist railroad but did not give a date for when it will begin revenue service.

Test runs of the locomotive will be made in the meantime.

Restoration of the locomotive has taken much longer and cost far more than expected. It has been a six-year process that has cost $3.5 million.

The 1309 was built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1949 and was its last domestic steam locomotive product.

Once it begins regular service the 1309 will be the only articulated rod engine operating in the eastern United States and the region’s largest active steam engine.

C&O 1309 Restoration Gets Another Emery Grant

July 23, 2020

The restoration of Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 got a boost this week with a grant from the Emery Rail Heritage Trust.

The foundation has awarded $50,000 to the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad to help the tourist railroad complete the restoration of the 1949 Baldwin-built locomotive.

WMSR officials have said they need $150,000 to complete the restoration of No. 1309 to operating condition.

The project is expected to have cost $3.2 million once completed.

Workers are currently completing work on the the running gear, back head piping, stoker, and other tasks needed to enable 1309 to become the world’s largest operating Mallet type locomotive.

The Emery grant was unusual in that the organization normally only makes awards in the spring. It is the third grant for 1309 restoration made by the Trust.

Previous grants included $40,000 in 2019 and $10,000 earlier this year.

Work Resumes on C&O 1309 Restoration

May 14, 2020

Workers have resumed restoration work on former Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309.

Trains magazine reported this week that contractor Diversified Rail Services began preparation work for setting the locomotive’s boiler onto two sets of drivers.

That work is expected to be completed in June by a crane company.

The restoration is being done in Ridgeley, West Virginia, at the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad.

Restoration of the 1309 has proceeded in fits and starts, hindered by lack of funding.

Work halted last summer after the campaign exhausted its money.

Since then a fund-raising drive led in part by Trains has raised more than $100,000.

Officials say the restoration project is more than 85 percent complete mechanically.

Another $100,000 is needed to fund construction of water, coal and ash removal facilities.

Thus far the restoration has cost $2.8 million.

Once it enters revenue service, No. 1309 will be the only articulated steam locomotive in regular operation in the Eastern United States and the world’s largest operating compound Mallet.